Accepted paper:

Portraying the right to the city: representations of urban protests in Youtube-videos


Jacob Geuder (University of Basel)

Paper short abstract:

The research of my phd-project analysis the overlapping of urban and digital spaces in political struggles that are claiming the right to the city. The paper presents the first step of the empirical analysis: the role of YouTube as a dispositive which frames a visual regime of protest portrayals.

Paper long abstract:

Few months before May 1968 in Paris, Henri Lefebvre wrote his essay "The Right to the City". Since then neo-liberal politics have tightened their grip on urban spaces and investments in urban assets have become a major spot for global financial speculations. Thus it comes at no surprise, that many of today's political resistances are not only staged in urban environments, but explicitly make references to the "Right to the City" especially in the "global South". Simultaneously technological innovations like the internet have triggered a "digital revolution" which exert profound impacts on urban spaces, everyday-life and political forms of organization. The claim is that increasing mutual infiltration of urban and digital spaces reflects in the relation of protests and their video images. My dissertation researches the "spatial politics of the digital-urban-nexus" by analyzing the YouTube-videos that portray Right to the City Protests on the streets in Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro. The paper presents the findings of a first step of analysis of this research project: How does YouTube function as a dispositive for the presentation of videos of protests that claim the Right to the City? By explaining the dispositive of YouTube it should be made clear, what remains invisible on the "open video platform", what powerful processes shape video representations of political protests and how the audiovisual representations of protests are contextualized in the digital spaces of YouTube.

panel Pol007
Radical memories, imagined futures: practices of history-making and prefiguration in social movements